This Time Next Year

DSCF3577This image reminds me of this year….almost over and quickly moving on. Sometimes, faster than we can imagine!

My God conversation this morning was about next year. It was a peace-filled conversation. No stress.

God reminded me to take the rest of this year and slow down. Schedule more time each day with Him so we can talk …where does He want me to be…what work does He want me to do…who does He want me to help?

The one thing God confirmed this morning is my mission statement: Introduce people to Jesus.

This week, more than any other week, we can extend kind and gentle invitations for people to join us in church. We have an opportunity to introduce people to Jesus!

What could be a greater gift?

There is a time for everything,and a season for every activity under heaven:”

Ecclesiastes 3:1

One Week From Today

IMG_1016My Mom would always comment as she aged how time seemed to pass so quickly compared to when she was younger. Perhaps, some of us can relate to that this month and especially this week.

The day after Christmas is one week from today.

In my morning talk with God this morning, we focused on the upcoming week. What need does He want us to see and beyond that, what need does He want us to address?

We talked about perspective. About praying for people who are traveling to be with loved ones. About being patient standing in line at stores or the post office…to use that time to focus on our blessings or even introduce ourselves to the person next to us. About appreciating this week.

Tonight I will be attending a Christmas fellowship service at a new church. Refreshments, music and fellowship! I will use tonight as a reminder to continue to share the Christmas story and the joy of having Christ in our lives!

Rather than ending with a scripture or quote today, let’s share our favorite hymn or song as  we enter the week of Christmas…

Mine is “Mary, Did You Know?” My favorite version is performed by Kathy Mattea.

Thank you for being here and sharing!

The Race For The Space

IMG_0861Speed. Power. Even though my car can go from zero to 60 in 3 miles, I knew I could get the space right in front of the store yesterday. I spotted it as soon as I turned into the parking lot.

Carefully making sure no one was backing out of the distant spaces, I zoomed toward that space!

Then, in the corner of my eye, my competition appeared! Since he had me beat by at least ten spaces, there was only one thing I could do….speed up to let him know he didn’t have a chance. Besides, I could pull straight in while he would have to slow down and make a turn. Not easy since he was driving an old mini van!

Then, the moment of truth. The flag man had the flag ready to announce the winner!

Then, the real moment of truth…God’s truth.

That van was old and beat up. The man driving was elderly and must have figured I was going to zip into the cherished space. A closer look allowed me to see the handicap sticker on his mirror.

He stopped. I stopped.

I waved him into the space like a car guide at a mega church on a busy Sunday morning. I made the turn and parked  several rows back. By the time I walked to the store, he was just getting out of the van.

“Great space you got there” as we made eye contact. As I held the door open for him, he said, “I really appreciate what you just did for me.”

Talking with God on the drive home, I really appreciated what I did too!

God reminded me about the importance of space and whether or not I am going to make room for people in my life.

I pray for us to talk with God about space in our lives. Imagine the perception that man would held of me had I raced to the space! I’m sure we would have missed the opportunity to talk.

You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Check Is In The Mail Almost

218I spent quite a bit of time yesterday looking for (and finding) a particular gift I hope someone will appreciate.

During my morning coffee talk with God, we thought about giving and who am I giving to. We all enjoy giving and receiving gifts (I am finally over my bah humbug attitude about this topic).

God reminded me of the man in Uganda who hand-carved the Cross I have worn every day for three years. Deb told me as he carves the Cross, he prays for the person who will receive it, even though he will likely never know who that is.

Giving.

Receiving.

Not with guilt, with love.

I have written about Mike and Deb in my book and shared some of their walk of faith with you here. My check is in the mail almost (it will be today because I am forwarding this post to Mike and Deb to wish them a Merry Christmas and thank the man who carved my Cross).

http://www.onecityministries.org

I encourage you to read about their walk of faith and have no doubt you will be inspired! Sometimes, we can’t know in advance what God is going to call us to do!

“Do we share with the poor, just like Jesus shared with us?”

- Mother Teresa

Balance

DSCF3164I had a wonderful talk with a friend yesterday which included a Peppermint Mocha (however, keeping with my new fitness goals, I ordered the smallest size and did not add Half n Half or five of the brown natural sugar packets)!

Eventually, our conversation turned to the importance of balance and how easy it is for us to sometimes lose it. We talked about the importance of recognizing early warning signs when “life” doesn’t seem quite right. Emotional. Physical. Spiritual.

How is our balance today? Are we monitoring those three areas of our life? If one begins to weaken, it is likely the other two will follow.

We also talked about the balance of our church homes and if church”life” seems to be in order and grounded in scriptural truth. Is our church home balanced?

I always admire pastors who remind people to find their proper church home. As we end the year, I am thinking about balance in my life. Emotional. Physical. Spiritual.

My prayer for us today is to talk with God about how He views our balance…today, and in the new year.

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”

Looking or Seeing

DSCF3884This image is a section of the Kissimmee River, which makes it way to the Everglades. For years, the importance of this river was not recognized as being critical for that ecosystem. Professionals looked at flood potential and built a series of canals. Canals, which are finally being removed so the river can be restored, as the professionals are able to see what went wrong and how to correct it.

I enjoy going to the Everglades and have had the honor of meeting and talking with Clyde Butcher (our well-known state photographer who has championed the “save the glades” for years).  If you are not familiar with his awemazing photography and outstanding work, visit his website or one of his two galleries.

In one speaking engagement, Clyde talked about the difference between seeing and looking. He described how he can spend hours  or days in the same spot, just looking. Then, he  “sees” the image and takes the photograph. Compare that method to the thousands of images we now  have on our digital cameras and phones!

When it comes to our spiritual life, are we just taking a look or really seeing? Recently, I have shared how I speed read scripture….a perfect example of looking and not taking the time to see.

In my talk with God this morning, I was again reminded to not just look at His Words but actually see His Living Words in our life.

I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint.”

- Habakkuk 2: 1

The Time We Have

DSCF3532_edited-1I doubt I would be able to capture an image just like this one again. Similar, sure, as there are plenty of birds and water…however, this was a younique moment in time. The perfect sunrise which provided the golden hue along with a very still wading bird.

Appreciation.

Would I be appreciating this image if it was a dark morning and the bird kept walking. Probably not. Odds are I would have deleted the image and never shared it with anyone.

Perspective.

How is our spiritual and personal perspective as we move closer to Christmas?

One of the reminders God gave me this morning during our talk was to say, “as we move closer to Christ!””

Perspective.

Appreciation.

We may have the opportunity to be a gentle witness who can talk about perspective and appreciation for this day. This moment…this very younique moment in time. It is what we have been given.

My prayer is for us to be open to those conversations.

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”

- James 4: 14